I’ve read almost all of the books in the Shadowhunters world and I really enjoy them. So when the Malec series was announced I got very excited! They’re one of my favorite couples and I’m so happy they got their own trilogy, and an adult one no less. I was once again very lucky, my audiobook subscription service had The Red Scrolls of Magic available on the release date so I started listening to it right away. And today I want to tell you what I thought about it! Beware that there might be some slight spoilers for all of the other series in the Shadowhunters word. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
All Magnus Bane wanted was a vacation—a lavish trip across Europe with Alec Lightwood, the Shadowhunter who against all odds is finally his boyfriend. But as soon as the pair settles in Paris, an old friend arrives with news about a demon-worshipping cult called the Crimson Hand that is bent on causing chaos around the world. A cult that was apparently founded by Magnus himself. Years ago. As a joke.
Now Magnus and Alec must race across Europe to track down the Crimson Hand and its elusive new leader before the cult can cause any more damage. As if it wasn’t bad enough that their romantic getaway has been sidetracked, demons are now dogging their every step, and it is becoming harder to tell friend from foe. As their quest for answers becomes increasingly dire, Magnus and Alec will have to trust each other more than ever—even if it means revealing the secrets they’ve both been keeping.
So I’ve said this a couple of times, I absolutely hate this cover. I don’t mind that’s its a different style from the other series. But I do think it will be mostly Shadowhunters fans that will pick up this series. And that will be regardless of the cover. I don’t like the font and typography they used at all. And the art of Magnus and Alec is pretty awful in my opinion. So I decided not to get this one physically. Hopefully they’ll do the paperbacks with another cover or something.
He’d always assumed that storybook moments like these were meant for Jace, Isabelle, anyone but him. Yet here he was.
If I’m completely honest, I was a bit hesitant going into the story. The cover really put me off and I just wasn’t sure what to expect at first. I did like the synopsis but since this book is set in between the events of book 3 & 4 of the Mortal Instruments series, so after the Mortal War, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it. Sometimes, if I get the idea the author later thought of things and it doesn’t fit into the established timeline flawlessly, I can get quite annoyed with a novel. But luckily, that wasn’t the case here at all!
The story is divided in three parts, all set in a different European city. We start off in Paris, move onto Venice, and end up in Rome. And all the while Magnus and Alec try to have a romantic vacation while also proving Magnus isn’t currently the leader of a demon worshipping cult. While we follow along on their journey, we meet both new characters and see a ton of familiar faces. And especially the familiar faces made me so happy! But they’re also the reason you want to be caught up with all the other Shadowhunter novels. You will be spoiled for some of the other books and you might miss out on some other great cameo’s.
I really enjoyed the story, it was quite fast paced and it flowed nicely. Compared to the other Shadowhunter novels, this is a pretty thin one with only 350 pages. But I think it was a nice variety and didn’t feel like we missed anything. There were some great twists, some I saw coming, others not so much. We got a great cliffhanger and I wish we got the sequel already, the wait is going to be killer!
She has seen so many tragedies, and they both knew the worst tragedies were born of love.
Apart from a fun plot, I think what made this book, were the amazing characters. Like I said, there are those we already know (and love) and there are some new characters. I won’t talk about all of them, but some do need to be talked about!
First up is everyone’s favorite warlock. We get to see a lot of Magnus’s past in the Red Scrolls of Magic, and I loved reading about it. It was heartbreaking at times, but it also makes you appreciate him so much more. Magnus is a truly amazing character and I hope he will make appearances in every Shadowhunters book that is yet to come. I wish him all the happiness!
Alec is a personal favorite off mine, even though he definitely didn’t start out as one when we first met him. He is so cute in this story and I loved seeing the development in his relationship with Magnus. Alec loves Magnus so much and he is willing to stand up to everything and everyone so they can be happy together. You can’t help but respect that and it’s amazing knowing where the will end up.
We get to see Helen and Aline meet in this book and it was so cute! I really like them together and loved their scenes in The Dark Artifices series, so reading about them meeting was amazing. It would be great if we could follow along their blossoming romance in the next two books.
The other characters I probably loved most seeing here were Rafael Santiago and Lily Chen. We read about Lily’s backstory in a novella and I have loved her ever since. Rafael has always been amazing and he is so much himself in the Red Scrolls of Magic. I loved it! And I loved his growing friendship with Alec.
We got an interesting villain and I really hope to learn more of them in the next installments! There are so many more great characters in this novel and I probably will need to reread this one before the sequel comes out. Just to make sure I don’t mix up all the whole cast haha.
If only the world were a fairy tale, Nephilim.
All in all, this was a story I loved with all my heart. There is a lot of representation in this story and a great message to fight for your love, no matter what others think. I’m already looking forward to the next book and would recommend this one to every Shadowhunter lover and enthusiast.